There are so many sites and places to go on the web, but what is good? Here are some of the places I've found inspiration.
Of late, I’ve become increasingly interested in experimenting more with typography and grid structures to use in my design. These are two areas that I have long wanted to explore, but haven’t had the opportunity or time to invest. Well, I still don’t have that much time, but I’ve decided to start exploring anyway! That’ll show me. In any case, it is always good to make time for those important things in life.
I’ve started off focusing on Swiss type and grids, since they have been so influential in the development of modern design. One of the first sites I came across that really caught my eye was the blog / portfolio of Wilson Miner. He does so many things right with this design and coding, I may have to borrow elements from it. Of course, he borrowed elements from this poster by Josef Müller–Brockmann. Seeing that poster myself, I started to wonder if there were any other swiss posters that had layouts or grids that I would want to base my own designs off of. This led me to the following sites:
The Grid System is a blog of articles centered around the ubiquitous grid. There are a large number of excellent articles there, so I highly recommend checking it out if you are interested in developing and using grid systems in every day life.
Typographic Posters is a site dedicated to presenting and preserving posters involving typography and graphical elements. To get one’s work on the site, you have to apply especially and show your work to be of a certain level of excellence. However, as a resource for inspiration, it is wonderful. There are tons of different styles and designs from modern designers all around the world. I especially liked the work of Benjamin Lambinet, but I will need to spend more time on the site! I do wish their user interface was a bit better though. Navigating the site via the sidebar proved a chore since with every reload, the scrollbar would reset to the top, regardless of which artist you were currently looking at. Ultimately, I took to just opening artists in new tabs and breaking the experience for the sake of ease-of-use.
Speaking of ease-of-use, I point you now to the Swiss Poster Collection. Run by the Swiss National Library and other prestigious agencies, it aspires to be a searchable collection of swiss typography posters. As with most public / government run sites, the design and UI aren’t particularly well executed, but if you know the name of the person in particular you are researching, it will provide large, high quality images of posters by that person. A bit hit or miss, but could prove useful. I really wanted a “browse” option, but could not find one…
One of the best sites I came across was Swiss Legacy, a blog run by Xavier Encinas, amalgamating new works and content in the tradition of the swiss typographers. I found numerous little gems and interesting links from his blog. One of my favorite was Type Trumps, “playing cards” of different typefaces. I am really fond of physical objects and to have reference cards for typefaces would be rather nice. Such things really help me come to understand better than just seeing it on the computer screen. Another great piece were these business cards made by a company called Hello, out of the UK. The thin layer of green in between the white edges of the card, plus the embossed backside really add character and life to the cards. I can’t imagine what the cost ended up being, but my is the effect nice. Finally, I wanted to bring up this article about Helvetica in the New York Subway system. Many designers have seen the film Helvetica, but it doesn’t really tell the true story of the typefaces used in New York. It is a really interesting read, so I recommend checking it out!
So that concludes my evening’s activities for swiss type exploration. I got some good ideas and will be spending more time in the coming days to see what designs I can come up with!
As a last note, I still really want these shirts, but wow expensive.